Exactly how did Jose Baez become Casey Anthony’s attorney and how he is getting paid? Those are the questions that everyone wants answered.
But what people should really be asking is how did Jose Baez become Casey Anthony’s attorney so quickly.
And to get to the heart of the story, you have to go back to the beginning – back to the day Casey Anthony was arrested.
In the beginning there was no Jose…
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Prisoner Transport Jurat, Casey Anthony was officially booked into jail as of 11:40 p.m. on July 16, 2008.
According to the Notice of Appearance filed by Jose Baez, he was officially her attorney of record as of 3:54 p.m. on July 17, 2008.
And just like that, 17 hours later, Casey Anthony had made the life or death decision of who would be her attorney.
A Little Perspective Please
But to help you understand just how extraordinary it is that Casey Anthony “selected” Jose Baez in less than a 17 hour period, it is necessary to put the other events that were taking place during that 17-hour period into perspective.
First she was booked.
She was booked on July 16, 2008 at 11:40 p.m. Assuming that everything went smoothly, booking would take about an hour, possibly two.
Then she had her Initial Appearance.
We are now at about 2:00 a.m. in the morning. Casey Anthony has likely been awake all day and her Initial Appearance (also called a First Appearance) is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. that same morning.
At around 7:30 a.m. (but as early as 6:30 a.m.) the guards would have started waking up the inmates to line them up for Initial Appearance and to fill out paperwork. And it is this paperwork which I think some of you will find very interesting.
What paperwork you ask, none other than financial paperwork; specifically an Application for Criminal Indigent Status.
And while I am sure that those interested in Ms. Anthony’s finances will no doubt pour over the details of her “claimed” income and assets, there are only three pieces of information that I am concerned with:
- As of 8:30 a.m. she was seeking the appointment of the public defender;
- The Clerk of the Court determined that she was indigent; and
- The Office of the Public Defender was originally appointed to represent her.
Considering that Casey Anthony had affirmatively requested the appointment of the Public Defender, it would seem safe to assume that Casey Anthony had not entered into a formal agreement with Jose Baez prior to filling out the Application for Indigency, much less even met him yet.
Because if she had already hired Jose Baez, why even fill out the form. (Unless she really is as diabolical and cunning as some of you believe – I mean she did indicate she had one dependent).
Time keeps on ticking, ticking into the future…
I also know that Initial Appearances take about two hours, so that puts her back into her cell around 10:30 a.m.; thus narrowing the time she had to meet with and select Jose Baez to 6.5 hours.
Not so Fast!
But not so fast my friend. It is interesting to note that the the Notice of Appearance was stamped by the Orange County Clerk of the Court at 3:54 p.m. And you must remember that Jose Baez’s office is in Osceola County. And a little Google Map action shows that it takes 30 minutes to drive from Jose Baez’s office to the the Orange County Courthouse. The obvious inference is that Casey Anthony had actually selected Jose Baez well before 3:00 p.m.
But even better, there is a drop box where attorneys leave their filings. Which means that it is usually another hour before a Deputy Clerk stamps the filing in. (Only in rare circumstances does an attorney actually asks a Deputy Clerk to stamp a filing in, especially such a routine filing like a Notice of Appearance.)
So it is most likely that Jose Baez met with Casey Anthony sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; giving a grand total of 3.5 hours to make the decision of her life.
And then there was Jose Baez. Jose Who? Jose Baez, Jose Who? Oh never mind!
Now knowing the likely time period under which Casey Anthony operated when selecting Jose Baez, we still do not know:
- How did Casey Anthony get Jose Baez’s number?
- How did Jose Baez get Casey Anthony’s name?
And in all honesty, I have no answers and am only left with analyzing the most widely suggested theory.
Someone in Jail gave Jose Baez’s Number to Casey
Although this seems like the most obvious explanation, I think it is unlikely. Let’s discuss.
First, when you are initially arrested, you are not immedietly placed into general population, the place where inmates are most likely to have an attorney’s number handy.
Rather the jail keeps you in their Booking and Release unit until they can process you and formerly assign you to permanent housing unit. So it is unlikely that she had sufficient contact with other inmates to even get an attorney’s name and number to call.
Second, even if another inmate gave her Jose Baez’s number, you would expect that inmate to have hired Jose Baez as well. Moreover, because the jail keeps inmates segregated, you would expect that inmate to be a woman.
And while by no means exhaustive, you can exclude this possibility by conducting a search on the Orange County Clerk’s website for all cases that Jose Baez handled from September 22, 2005 (his date of admission) to July 18, 2008 (the day after Casey Anthony’s arrest).
The search reveals he was attorney of record in 54 cases. Of those cases, only 16 cases involved female clients (or at least feminine first names).
And if you examine each of his female client’s cases, you will see that none of them were either:
- Being held in jail awaiting trial, or
- Serving a jail sentence on the day of Casey Anthony’s arrest.
So it seems highly unlikely that a female inmate gave Jose Baez’s phone number to Casey Anthony.
But What if Some Other Dude Did It?
But what if it was a male inmate you ask? Well okay, if you examine each of the male clients that he was representing at the time, you will see that none of those clients were arrested in the week leading up to her arrest date; and the only male inmates she could have had contact with would be recently arrested inmates. So while possible, it is highly unlikely.
My Personal Conspiracy Theory
Wikipedia defines a conspiracy theory as “any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning.”
And with that definition as a backdrop, I would like to briefly offer what I think is a more plausible theory of how Casey Anthony got Jose Baez’s number – she had contacted him before Caylee was ever discovered missing.
Why? Because I can not think of any sane attorney who would:
- Respond to a telephone call from a recently arrested inmate within four hours.
- Actually be able to meet with an inmate within four hours of receiving a call (did he not have any other meetings that Thursday or say, court?).
- Agree to take on an inmate’s case, without speaking to a third party guarantor.
- File a Notice of Appearance without first obtaining a very significant down payment from the Third Party guarantor.
I mean think about it, what was the rush? While I can only speculate, let us assume they actually met for the first time on July 17, 2008. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation, which would have taken place after Jose read the Arrest Affidavit.
- Jose: So let me get this straight? Your daughter has been missing for 31 days?
- Casey: Yeah.
- Jose: And you told the police that Zanny the Nanny kidnapped her?
- Casey: Yeah.
- Jose: And you then lied to police about where you worked when they tried to verify parts of your story?
- Casey: Yeah.
- Jose: And you went so far as to take them all the way to Universal Studios?
- Casey: Yeah, why? Don’t you believe me. Won’t you take my case?
- Jose: Sure, just sign right here on the dotted line. I will then run back to my office in Kissimmee, print out a Notice of Appearance, and then drive back to Orlando and personally file the Notice of Appearance myself because I have nothing better to do today.
Listen, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I have handled my fair share of cases and I don’t know any attorney this side of Wonderland who would:
- Read an Arrest Report like the one in Casey’s case and then
- Talk to a potential client like Casey who is the subject of that arrest report and then
- File a Notice of Appearance without so much as a smidgen of compensation or guaranteed source of payment.
Be clear, Casey Anthony may have been in a rush to get out of jail. But Jose Baez did not need to rush to take on the case so quickly.
Any attorney worth his salt – let me rephrase that – any attorney period, would have thought long and hard before filing a Notice of Appearance in a case like Casey Anthony’s.
I don’t care how much media exposure the case had AT THE TIME. Nobody knew how big the case would become.
At the time the case was just another “News at 6″ headline.
But if it could be proven that Casey Anthony contacted Jose Baez prior to it being discovered that Caylee was missing; it would be the biggest bombshell in the entire case.
Because it would show beyond all doubt that Casey Anthony had a guilty conscience and sought out a criminal defense attorney for preemptive advice.
But then again, that is just my conspiracy theory. Nothing more, nothing less. Because everyone knows that neither Casey Anthony nor Jose Baez has the super power or cunning to secretly plot out something so diabolical – or do they?
But the Most Likely Explanation
But before I go, I think it is prudent of me to opine as to what I think is the most likely scenario. I ran the above theory by Florida News Network reporter Rozzie Franco.
She in turn asked around and reported back that it was believed Jose Baez had handled a traffic ticket or something of that nature for one of her former boyfriends (Jesse Grund I believe) and it was the boyfriend who asked Baez to go out and talk to Casey.
If true, that makes a whole heck of a lot of sense.
But then again, I still can’t understand why in the world Jose Baez would take on a case of that nature without first asking Casey one simple question:
Hmm, show me the money… Maybe that will be the subject of my next blog post?